Horyu-ji Temple, about a one hour trip from Kyoto, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the world's oldest wooden buildings, which have endured rain and wind for more than 1300 years. Especially, the five-story pagoda in the temple's Sai-in (Western) Precinct is a very sophisticated artwork, because of its exquisite balance and design, elegant and waterproof eaves, and well-thought-out seismic techniques. Prince Shotoku (574-622), a regent of Emperor Suiko (554-628), established Sai-in (Western) Precinct to train Buddhist priests. He expected these priests to grow and to maintain national order and peace. It was a big project that announced the dawn of a new era of Japan as a Buddhist nation.
Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sha...